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Autopsy finds low, nonlethal amounts of alcohol and medication in Naya Rivera’s body after she drowned

Two law enforcement officers aboard a small watercraft in a lake
Authorities search for “Glee” actress Naya Rivera in Lake Piru in July in the days after her 4-year-old son was found alone on a boat she had rented.
(KTLA)

Actress Naya Rivera had nonlethal amounts of prescription medication and alcohol in her system when she drowned while boating on Lake Piru, according to a medical examiner’s report made public Friday.

Rivera’s 4-year-old son was found alone on the boat after she disappeared July 8 and told investigators his mother had never come out of the water. A few days later, the “Glee” actress’ body was recovered from the Ventura County lake. The autopsy report included the medical examiner’s earlier determination that the drowning was accidental and added the new information that she had a low level of amphetamine and diazepam, caffeine and a blood-alcohol level of 0.016%.

The autopsy did not say whether the medication and alcohol played a role in her death. Her blood-alcohol level was five times lower than the legal limit for drunken driving in California, 0.08%.

“Glee” star Naya Rivera, who died during a boat outing with her son last week, was known for showstopping performances on the series. Here are the 10 best.

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The report revealed that wind speeds on the lake the afternoon she drowned were up to 21 mph. Investigators believe it is possible winds blew the boat away from her while she was in the water and made it harder to get back to the small vessel.

Lake workers discovered her son alone and alerted sheriff’s deputies. The son told investigators that he and his mother jumped into the water and that she pushed him back into the boat but then did not get back on. He recalled his mother, who authorities say could swim, yelling for help before vanishing below the waterline.

When investigators found the pontoon boat, Rivera’s “purse and adult life vest was on a bench seat behind the driving area,” according to an investigator’s report.

Rivera, 33, had no signs of physical injury or disease and was found in a two-piece swimsuit. According to the report, she had a prescription for Adderall, an amphetamine commonly used to treat attention deficit disorder. “She was known to consume alcoholic beverages, smoke about a pack of cigarettes per week, and used marijuana by vaping, but she was not known to use any illicit substance,” the autopsy said.


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